This Alfredo sauce reaches of creaminess that you never thought were possible ... until now. It starts with a rich base made from cashews and cauliflower that is blended with garlic, pine nuts, and creamy non-dairy milk. Fold this luscious sauce into your pasta of choice, then top with spicy chili peppers and fresh herbs.
Creamy Cauliflower Cashew Alfredo Rigatoni [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Cauliflower Cashew Butter Base:
- 1 large head cauliflower, bottom stem removed, cleaned and dismembered into large pieces
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour (or overnight), then strained and rinsed
- 7-8 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups water
For the Alfredo Cream Sauce:
- 2 cups cauliflower-cashew butter base
- 2 cloves raw garlic, smashed
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups unsweetened soy or non-dairy milk
- 1 pound fresh rigatoni pasta, gluten-free or grain-free if needed
- 3 cups water
- 2-3 cups cauliflower florets
- Roughly 4 cups Crosne aka Chinese artichokes or canned artichoke hearts
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter or oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup white wine or water
For the Garnish:
- Thin chili peppers or red pepper flakes
- Fresh red vein sorrel, parsley or basil
- Coarse sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- Drizzle of truffle, parsley, or chive herb oil
To Make the Cauliflower Cashew Butter Base:
- In medium-sized sauce pot, add the dismembered cauliflower, cashews, garlic, salt, rice vinegar, and bay leaf along with 2 cups of water and cover.
- Heat on medium-high until it reaches a slow boil, then steam for 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked throughout and breaks apart easily. Let it cool, then strain and remove the bay leaf.
- Transfer the mixture to a high-speed blender. Start blending on low speed and, using damper/plunger, mash all the ingredients down to ensure everything gets blended. Add a few splashes of water or non-dairy milk only if absolutely needed. Once completely blended and smooth, measure out two cups and set aside (this will be used later to add to the Alfredo-style cream sauce).
- Save the remaining butter base in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
To Make the Alfredo Cream Sauce:
- In a high-speed blender, add the 2 cups of cauliflower-cashew butter base, garlic, pine nuts, coarse salt and black pepper and begin blending on low while slowly adding in the non-dairy milk. Increase the speed to high and blend for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is silky smooth.
- This will make 2 quarts of Alfredo-style cream sauce. Measure out 1 quart and set aside for this recipe.
- Save the remaining 1 quart in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to a week for other use.
- Cook the rigatoni until al dente as directed on package. Drain and set aside (see notes).
- Add 3 cups of water to a medium-sized sauce pot and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and
- Crosne and cook, covered, for 5 minutes until al dente. Strain and set aside.
- Heat a large sauce pot over medium heat until hot, then add the plant-based butter or oil (optional), diced onions and sliced garlic, then sauté for 3 minutes or until they begin to slightly brown. Next, add the wine or water to deglaze, then add in the 1 quart of reserved cauliflower cream sauce. Heat through for 1 minute then add in the rigatoni.
- Add cooked pasta and cauliflower and crosne to the heating sauce and mix and fold together gently.
- Remove from heat and garnish as desired with the chopped chili peppers, fresh sorrel, salt, and pepper and herb oil of your choice.
When it's time to add the rigatoni to the sauce, boil a small pot of water and pour it over the cooled pasta to loosen it up and bring it up to temp before adding to the heating sauce.